UContent: The Information Professional's Guide to User-Generated Content

How Companies Use the Crowd

As I researched the topic of user written online reviews for the book UContent (e.g., think book, dvd, and product reviews in Amazon, patrons’ reviews of items in OPACs, and hotel reviews in TripAdvisor), I began to realize that there is great power in eWOM (electronic Word of Mouth). Positive user written reviews can help a product or service flourish, and just one or two bad reviews can sink the ship.

There’s another way that products/companies seek to benefit from content contributed by customers/end-users. By doing a nominal amount of outreach, many companies have succeeded in getting customers to provide promotional content – and it’s usually done without as much as a penny exchanging hands. One example is Tiffany & Company’s “Love is Everywhere” campaign–Tiffany customers place their initials in a heart on a map of the world at a place that is especially meaningful for them, romantically speaking. Another example is “fans”shooting video for a Ford Focus ST television commercial.

This type of crowdsourcing is an area of user-generated content that I began exploring in UContent, and I plan to it cover more extensively in my presentation at Internet Librarian on October 24, 2012. In addition to the examples I provide here, I’ll present more instances of high profile companies using the crowd to promote their goods or services.

About Nicholas Tomaiuolo

Nick Tomaiuolo earned his MLS at Southern Connecticut State University where he was named a Scholar of the School of Library Science and Instructional Technology, inducted into Beta Phi Mu (the International Library and Information Studies Honor Society), and has been designated a Distinguished Alumnus. He teaches online research skills courses for both Central Connecticut State University and the University of Maryland University College. Likes: database searching, literature, marottes, Stratocasters, theater, and travel. Dislikes: hubris, martinets, opportunists, and technology for technology’s sake. His first book, The Web Library, was published in 2004. His second book UContent: The Information Professional's Guide to User-Generated Content was published in January 2012.